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Wings Tighten Race With 4-3 Road Win

Friday, March 22nd
Wings Tighten Race With 4-3 Road Win

WHEELING, WV- Nine games remain in the 2023-24 regular season, and the race for the playoffs has gotten even tighter. On Friday night, the Kalamazoo Wings pulled to within two points of the Wheeling Nailers for third place in the Central Division. Erik Bradford broke a 3-3 tie with 3:42 remaining to lift Kalamazoo to the 4-3 road win. Matt Koopman, Evan Vierling, and Jordan Martel were the goal scorers for the Nailers.

Leads exchanged hands a couple of times in the first period, as four goals were scored and a 2-2 deadlock was the end result. The Nailers were first on the board just 2:31 into the match. Thimo Nickl directed a shot toward the goal, which produced a rebound. Matt Koopman pounced on the loose puck and lifted his attempt up and in from the left side of the crease. Kalamazoo drew even 2:40 later. Collin Adams got a step on the defense, as he busted his way down the slot, before he shoveled a shot into the top-left corner. The Wings then took the lead with a power play strike, as Erik Bradford teed up Josh Passolt for a one-time rip from the right circle. Wheeling picked up an equalizer with 2:45 to go. Evan Vierling flew past his defender on the left side, which allowed him to cut to the middle, and trickle a backhander through Hunter Vorva's legs.

Defense played more of a role in the middle frame, but both teams were still able to tally once. Kalamazoo took the lead with 3:18 remaining, when Collin Saccoman picked off a clearing attempt, and promptly drove a slap shot into the top-left corner of the cage. The Nailers answered 1:04 later to send the contest into the intermission tied. Tanner Laderoute curled into the right circle, then spun a pass into the left circle, where Jordan Martel slammed a one-timer into the wide-open left side of the net.

The score stayed tied until the closing minutes of the tilt, when one shot made the difference. That shot came from the Wings with 3:42 remaining. Passolt dished a feed over to Bradford, who got just enough power behind his one-timer from the right circle to squeeze the puck through Garret Sparks' legs. Wheeling was unable to cash in on a power play in the final 1:28 of play, as Kalamazoo prevailed, 4-3.

Hunter Vorva earned the win for the Wings, as he thwarted 31 of the 34 shots he faced. Garret Sparks suffered the loss in his debut for the Nailers, as he made 20 saves on 24 shots.

The Nailers will continue their homestand on Saturday night at 7:10 with the next Big Six Promotional Game - Wizards & Wands. The first 2,500 fans will receive a brand new free wizard wand with a commemorative case. There will be Wizarding School acceptance letters, a Sorting Hat, Butter Beer, Quidditch, specialty jerseys, seating by house, and so much more. That will also be another key divisional match, as Wheeling faces Fort Wayne. The Wheeling Nailers, considered one of the top things to do in Wheeling, West Virginia, provide affordable family entertainment for fans throughout the Ohio Valley.

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Bloomington Bison
Wheeling Nailers
Saturday, November 2nd
Bloomington Bison @ Wheeling Nailers
Puck Drops:
7:10 PM EDT
WesBanco Arena
Bloomington Bison
BLM Bloomington Bison
at
Wheeling Nailers
WHL Wheeling Nailers
WesBanco Arena
Trois-Rivières Lions
Wheeling Nailers
Friday, November 8th
Trois-Rivières Lions @ Wheeling Nailers
Puck Drops:
7:10 PM EST
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Trois-Rivières Lions
TR Trois-Rivières Lions
at
Wheeling Nailers
WHL Wheeling Nailers
WesBanco Arena
Trois-Rivières Lions
Wheeling Nailers
Saturday, November 9th
Trois-Rivières Lions @ Wheeling Nailers
Puck Drops:
7:10 PM EST
WesBanco Arena
Trois-Rivières Lions
TR Trois-Rivières Lions
at
Wheeling Nailers
WHL Wheeling Nailers
WesBanco Arena

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